Over the weekend, we hopped in the car and made the three-hour drive to Reading, PA from Northern Virginia. Just an hour northwest of Philadelphia, this was our first time exploring Reading and the surrounding Berks County area. We picked the perfect time to visit, too. The leaves were changing colors and there were a lot of fun family events taking place.
The Go Greater Reading website keeps an up-to-date events calendar, so you’ll want to use the calendar to help plan out your stay. Between arts, culture and outdoor adventures, you’ll find something fun to do at every turn and in every corner of the Greater Reading, PA area. Here’s the scoop on where to stay, what to do and where to eat if you want to plan a weekend getaway. Have fun. 🙂
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Homewood Suites. Centrally located, just outside of Reading, the The Homewood Suites is close to many shops and restaurants, as well as PA 222, one of the major routes for reaching attractions, like GoggleWorks Center for the Arts and the Reading Public Museum.
We stayed in a two-room suite at the Homewood Suites. There was a bedroom with two queen beds and a family room / kitchen with a pull-out sofa. This was ideal for me and my crew. There was plenty of space to move around, two televisions and a bag of microwave popcorn, which we promptly enjoyed our second night in town. Even better, the hotel provided crayons and coloring books to entertain my kids.
The Homewood Suites also provides a free hot breakfast, which is something we always love when we travel. They had make-your-own waffles, eggs, sausage and hash browns, as well as oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, breads and cereals. Way too many delicious choices. Even better, hot coffee, tea and cocoa was available morning, noon and night, so my kids indulged in hot chocolate every time we were in the lobby.
What to Do
The Homewood Suites is easy driving distance from a number of kid-friendly attractions, including Roadside America and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. If you go, here are a few of my top things to do with kids in the Greater Reading area.
GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. It’s a must to visit GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, and if you can, go on the second Sunday of the month for Second Sundays. Explore the various artist studios, take in the artwork on display and have fun with a make-and-take project (we made ghosts and jack o’lanterns from plastic cups). No wonder one of the taglines of the area is “Where Art & Culture Happen.”
Reading Public Museum. There’s so much to do at the Reading Public Museum, like exploring works of art, getting interactive with a dinosaur exhibit, taking in a planetarium show and enjoying a self-guided tour around the arboretum. As a bonus, little ones will love learning and playing in the new Curious George exhibit, which runs through Jan. 10, 2016.
Roadside America. In nearby Shartlesville, kids and adults will love the miniature village complete with trains, trolleys and airplanes at Roadside America. My kids loved pressing buttons all around the village to start a circus parade, activate a trolley and make a steamroller pave a city street. Every half hour, the lights go down and the town lights up as part of a musical show.
Daniel Boone Homestead. For history lovers, head to the Daniel Boone Homestead in Birdsboro to learn more about the story of Daniel Boone as he grew up in the Oley Valley of Pennsylvania. Stop in the visitor center for a short video, The Life and Times of Daniel Boone, as well as various 18th century artifacts. Take a guided tour inside the Boone House or explore the eight historic structures on your own.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Get outside just north of Reading at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in nearby Kempton. Stop by on a weekend to enjoy the “Raptors Up Close” program. We loved learning more about raptors and seeing an Eastern Screech Owl and a Red-Tailed Hawk from the front row. After the program, we enjoyed a short hike to the South Lookout for fantastic views of the autumn trees.
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. Just down the road in Ronks is Cherry Crest Adventure Farm, home to one of the top maize mazes in the country, so it’s a must to visit in the fall. Between pedal karts, twice-daily pig races, wagon rides, a jumping pillow and barnyard animals (and so much more), you can easily spend all day here. Try the kettle corn and hot cider donuts. Yum.
Where to Eat
There are a number of tasty restaurants in the Greater Reading area that are perfect for kids and families. Here are a few to check out during your visit.
Austin’s. If you’re looking for upscale-casual fare, head to Austin’s. Go for the steaks and the homemade baked potato soup. Look for all-you-can eat ribs on Mondays and free kids meals on Sundays (one free kids entrée with every adult entrée). They also have a fairly extensive gluten-free menu.
3rd & Spruce Café. In West Reading, try 3rd & Spruce Café. Kids will love the Pretzel Dog and Kiddie Wings, while you may enjoy the Cedar Plank Salmon. The restaurant has a pleasant neighborhood atmosphere, making it the perfect place to grab a bite before enjoying a walk around the block.
Schell’s. In nearby Temple, make a stop at Schell’s for classic burgers, fries and 27 holes of miniature golf. When the weather is warm, grab a seat at one of the outdoor picnic tables before putting around the mini golf course and enjoying a milkshake or ice cream cone next door at Dairy Swirl.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Go Greater Reading.